Autism spectrum disorder study

Women who are expecting, or are planning to conceive are getting some advice from a York University researcher — bypass your cosmetics and body lotions — at least for the first trimester. Chemical compounds contained in many personal products or even over the counter medications could hinder prenatal brain development and lead to autism.

Researchers have discovered the chemicals can lead to abnormal levels of lipids in the brain. Lipids are essential molecules, like building blocks for brain cells. But too many lipids can affect the way cells behave in the brain — impacting how the brain is wired. So what should we steer clear of? Dorota Crawford is with the York University Faculty of Health: “We don’t know what the concentration, or level of those chemicals is contained in those cosmetics for instance or drugs for example. So it’s very difficult for us to tell different individuals how much babies could be impacted by those compounds. So simply I would say, avoiding it would be the best solution for the time being.”

The next phase of research will look at more specifics, including amounts. Autism is a growing field of study. The U.S. Centre for Disease Control estimates one in 68 children will be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.